Earlier this month we gathered a few hundred solar friends in Brooklyn for Equinox East, Vote Solar’s annual east coast party and fundraiser. The mood was merry, in no small part thanks to the speakers who shared their inspiring work to build a brighter, more just clean energy future.

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First up we had Peggy Shepard, co-founder and executive director of WE ACT and renowned leader in the environmental justice movement. WE ACT empowers and organizes low-income people of color to build healthy communities for all. Peggy has spent nearly thirty years organizing and engaging Northern Manhattan residents in campaigns to address environmental protection and environmental health policy at the local and national level.

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Next we welcomed Power52 co-founders: Super Bowl MVP Ray Lewis and entrepreneur Rob Wallace. Rob and Ray told us how Freddie Gray’s death in 2015 inspired them to focus on new solutions for helping break the cycles of poverty, under-employment and incarceration in their Baltimore community. The two teamed up to form Power52, which uses hands-on solar job training to create economic opportunity and improve resiliency in underserved urban communities. The Baltimore-based organization already has a roster full of ready-for-hire, NABCEP-certified professionals. These men and women are ready to work — let us know if you’re looking for your next hire and we’ll put you in touch.

Peggy, Ray, and Rob lit a fire under hundreds of party-goers at our annual East Coast celebration and fundraiser in New York. They show us how solar can be a powerful tool for advancing many critical and deeply interconnected issues social, economic and environmental issues. It was an honor to hear their stories and double down on our commitment to driving a clean energy transition that benefits all.

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This year we celebrated Vote Solar’s 15th birthday at Equinox East, and it was one for the books. Special thanks to our sponsors and everyone else who supported our work by joining in the fun! And to legendary New York Night Train DJ Jonathan Toubin for putting the soul in our solar party. Check out the pictures and photobooth memories here - and if you were lucky enough to be there, be sure to tag yourself and your friends.

Equinox East 2017 sponsors